Azariya thanks Chief of Staff for reduced sentence

'I will continue to serve my sentence with head held high, and will pray to the Creator that I return home quickly to my family.'

Reut Hadar ,

Elor Azariya on the way to jail
Elor Azariya on the way to jail
Eliran Aharon

Elor Azariya responded this afternoon to IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot’s announcement that his jail sentence would be shortened by 4 months.

Azariya, notified of the decision by his family, who visited him in jail, said, “I thank the Chief of Staff for the sentence reduction. He made this decision with the attribute of kindness and mercy, an attribute that the Holy One, Blessed be He gave to each and every one of us. Even so, I am sorry that the military prosecution recommended the Chief of Staff not shorten my sentence by even one day.”

“Among our enemies, we must remember, there is no kindness and mercy, they hunger for murder and are full of hatred. I say, once again, that I acted out of a feeling of danger at the scene of the attack in Hevron against a vile terrorist who came to murder, and 'he who comes to kill you - kill him first',” Azariya added, citing a Talmudic phrase.

“We are full of compassion, sanctify life and seek peace - and our enemies hunger for Jewish blood, this is the reality. When all is said and done, I will continue to serve my sentence with head held high, and I will pray to the Creator of the Universe, He who releases the imprisoned, that I return home quickly to my beloved family. I again thank the Jewish People for their support all along the way.”

Azariya was convicted of manslaughter in January for the shooting death of a wounded Arab terrorist minutes after a stabbing attack in Hevron that left one soldier wounded.

In February, an IDF court sentenced Azariya to 18 months in prison.

Earlier today, Wednesday, it was announced that the IDF would cut Azariya’s prison term from 18 to 14 months.

The response from Eizenkot’s office called Azariya’s behavior during the shooting incident “unacceptable”, and highlighted the fact that the former soldier had not expressed remorse for his actions.

“The Chief of Staff views your behavior as unacceptable and in violation of army regulations and IDF values.”

“In addition, the Chief of Staff noted that you never accepted responsibility for the incident or expressed remorse for it.”

Despite that, the letter from the Chief of Staff’s office informed Azariya that the army would trim his sentence by four months.

“Based on his authority, the Chief of Staff decided to respond to your appeal generously and with mercy, taking into consideration your service as a combat soldier.”